Todd Graf didn’t invent the Internet, but he was one of the first to wed that technology with the world of the outdoors.
Graf’s accomplishments include the establishment of several successful websites and other technology-based business ventures. He also founded Coon Creek Hunt Club in Garden Prairie. Graf considers himself a lucky man, but his good fortune is the product of hard work.
“I am passionate about everything I do,”said Graf, who lives in Huntley with his wife Sonia and their son Craig. “I am fortunate to be able to go to work every day and earn a living working with the sport of hunting. Most people don’t have that privilege.”
Born from his consuming passion for hunting, he established the website, Huntingnet.com, and it soon became the top website in the world for hunters and archers.
Hunters weren’t at the forefront of the technology revolution, a fact known well to Graf. To solve this problem, Graf produced a slick four-color quarterly hunting magazine that he distributed to hunters all over the country.
In addition to great content, the magazine promoted his new website. He spent a small fortune to print and distribute the publication, but it was the key to making the website take off. After a couple of years, the magazine ceased publication and the readers all turned to Graf’s site on the web.
The site remained popular until Graf realized every web entrepreneur’s dream and hit the lottery when he sold the site. He signed a two-year non-compete clause with the new owner. When the 24-month deadline passed, Graf was ready to re-enter the world of the web with Bowhunting.com. The site became the world’s top site for archers and bow hunters in a short amount of time.
In addition to a strong background in hunting, Graf has a strong technology background. He founded ICS Solutions, a Huntley-based network solutions company soon after his college graduation from Minnesota-Duluth. He founded Whitetaildeer.com and began to lay claim to hunting domain names. He now has title to more than 2,500 site names.
ICS spawned another Graf enterprise, the Rhino Group, which has become the top developer of websites for the hunting and outdoors industry.
Graf’s websites are known for their depth and breadth of top-quality hunting information. The sites contain articles from some of the world’s top hunters. Graf produces a video program for his site called “Hunt or Die,” which is ridiculously popular in today’s YouTube-dominated world.
In addition to information, videos and photos bowhunting.com is also a portal for booking hunting trips, trading hunting reports and purchasing the latest hunting gear from the country’s best manufacturers.
Not content with his copious amount of business successes, Graf established Coon Creek in 2003, a premier pheasant hunting operation. In addition to pheasant hunting, the club offers trap shooting, sporting clays, European-style shoots and a 3-D archery range.
A couple of years ago, Muhsin Muhammad of the Bears discovered Coon Creek, and it became a popular place for players to visit on their Mondays off after games.
Tim Oman, the force behind Woodstock’s Great Outdoors Expo, is a big fan of Coon Creek.
“They really run a first-class operation out there,” he said. “I really enjoy everything they do. It’s a great club.”